Thursday, August 02, 2007

Reliving My Childhood

Don't you wish you could set off fireworks from your roof too?
Fireworks on both sides of the Lake and all around
Fireworks set off from our neighbors terrace

The kid in all of us enjoys a great, loud fireworks display. Yesterday, August 1st, was the Swiss National Holiday - similar to our 4th of July in theory. I cannot give you the year right now without leaving my chair which I am reluctant to do, but, long ago, the various Cantons of Switzerland came to an agreement to join together in independence from the countries which they had previously been affiliated with (Germany, Austria, Italy and France) and formed their own independent and 'neutral' country. Each village still sets off a large bonfire every Aug. 1st signifying the relay of the independence message back in the day prior to telegraphs, radio, phone, TV and even their ever so efficient train system.

Last years Aug. 1st was a dude. Due to a dry July, all fireworks had been canceled - plus it rained. But this year - we saw the bonfires of at least 12 villages, there were fireworks going off all over Lake Zuerich (firecrackers had been popping all day) for over 2 hours and we had a great evening with friends we invited over for the show. And it wasn't the big city fireworks that were so spectacular as the private ones. Even our neighbors set off a series of 10 or so large, launched fireworks from their terrasse. So we were most impressed with the fact you can personally buy, real live BIG fireworks. Hmmmm, maybe next year - but it would be more fun if we could sing the Star Spangled Banner and wave OUR flag - which we didn't last night. And we will probably keep in our hearts so as not to attract any abuse from anti-American sentiments. Not that we've experienced any but there are some Swiss here who would like to keep things Swiss .....

And while we are having childlike enjoyment of the fireworks, I am reminded of my childhood. Especially in light of our recent trip back home to the States. Back when I was little and growing up in West Sacramento: we didn't have air conditioning (well, a little wall unit in the living room), a frost-free refrigerator, a garbage disposal, a dishwasher (Dad claimed he had 3 so why would he go out and buy one), ice maker, filtered water from the refrigerator but we did have screens on the windows. And no, we did not live in a trailer park but a cute little house on Poplar Ave. where I had my own room. And we had huge oak trees in front that my Dad gave me the priviledge of helping him with come time to rake up the leaves in the fall. Unfortunately, due to major allergy/asthma issues, the sisters and I did not get to jump in the giant piles of leaves which were sooooo tempting. But I digress.....

After visiting the States for a month and returning to our lovely, awesome view of the Lake, terrasse flat I realized: I have returned to my childhood!

  • We do not have air conditioning (although we do have a portable unit that can be wheeled from room to room - that must vent to outside via a window? let warm air in so we can cool it off?)
  • I clean out slimey things from the little sink drain and would LOVE to have a garbage disposal again (and the scrapping of food in trash lets off such pleasant aromas)
  • I must defrost the freezer which now has about 2 inches of frosty fuzz in the upmost regions (I have never done this - any tips Mom?)
  • I do have a small but functional dishwasher that lets the soap out most of the time
  • We make ice in little tiny trays and fortunately don't need much of it as we've become accustomed to drinking things without ice (how European of us!)
  • We use a Brita pitcher again even though they all insist the tapwater is fine - we just like cold water
  • AND there are no screens on any windows. Nor does anyone else we know, except for one, have screens on their windows. The girls are getting good at using the fly-swatter! A skill every 6 year old should master.

Funny how after time you get used to things being a certain way and only notice the change after you've returned back to what you had. Ruth Stieff asked me this week what I liked most about our living here and what I missed most about living in the States. What I like most about living here is the personal responsibility people take for their actions/accidents (there are no trial lawyers here) and what I miss most are the conveniences we had in the States (it goes without saying that our friends and family top the "miss" list).

And speaking of Ruth Stieff, we enjoyed our visit with the whole family and they seem to be enjoying Quintin's sabbatical here in Europe. They met us at church, spent Sun. night and then headed back to Belgium Mon. A little bit of Des Moines for a day and we enjoyed getting to know all of the family better.

Have a great Day!

1 comment:

Olson Family said...

I will comment on my own blog. I have trouble spelling. I see a mix of American & British "english" spellings and a mix of American & German "english" spellings. Of which I seem to switch off and on - even during a single paragraph. So - My Apologies. I think it will get worse before it gets better - Or maybe I need a German keyboard as well :).